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Little Pocket Size Demons

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Vijay Iyer: Henry Threadgill Gets A Fascinating Makeover

Vijay Iyer: Henry Threadgill Gets A Fascinating Makeover

Little Pocket Size Demons

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Vijay Iyer and his trio masterfully articulate a complex composition's exuberant, zigzagging melody. Jimmy Katz hide caption

toggle caption Jimmy Katz

Vijay Iyer and his trio masterfully articulate a complex composition's exuberant, zigzagging melody.

Jimmy Katz

Tuesday's Pick

Song: "Little Pocket Size Demons"

Artist: Vijay Iyer

CD: Accelerando

Genre: Jazz

Trying to scale down the music of Henry Threadgill's early-'90s Very Very Circus ensemble in a piano-trio format is like trying to realize Star Wars as a stage monologue. The Very Very Circus not only performed fascinating, widescreen music — brimming with polyrhythmic propulsion, tonal oddities and barbed melodies — but its instrumentation also showcased an eccentric lineup which found room for two electric guitars, a tuba, French horn, violins and assorted percussion.

Nevertheless, Vijay Iyer does the nearly impossible with his captivating makeover of Threadgill's "Little Pocket Size Demons," from Iyer's forthcoming album Accelerando. Against Marcus Gilmore's serrated drum patterns and Stephan Crump's shrill arco bass melodies and thrusting bass lines, Iyer masterfully articulates the composition's exuberant, zigzagging melody. The collective improvisation grows more vigorous, yet the rhythm section allocates enough space for Iyer to leap forward with a capricious solo, marked by rumbling turnaround passages, jolting harmonies and jabbing interjections. At the height of all the jittery activity, the trio captures much of the choreographed chaos that gave the Very Very Circus' work such a super-charged cinematic feel.

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Accelerando

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Album
Accelerando
Artist
Vijay Iyer Trio
Released
2012

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Accelerando

Purchase Music

Buy Featured Music

Album
Accelerando
Artist
Vijay Iyer Trio
Label
Act Music + Vision
Released
2012

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

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